Here's a potential sign the job market is slowly improving: Some people are feeling comfortable looking for a new job even while they're (supposed to be) doing their current one.
A new survey from staffing firm Accountemps finds that about three in 10 workers would be likely to do things like search for a position online or take a call from a recruiter while they are at work.
The findings, which Accountemps said were based on phone interviews with a nationally representative group of 427 workers, come amid signs that the employment market is slowly starting to get better after five extremely difficult years.
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"[There's] more action in the marketplace," said Dawn Fay, district president for staffing firm Robert Half International, whose divisions include Accountemps.
The economy added 195,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate stayed steady at 7.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The July employment data is scheduled to be released Friday.
At least some of those people appear to be perusing jobs websites while on the clock. CareerBuilder said about two-thirds of all visits to its site are made during standard working hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Recruitment experts say they aren't that surprised to find a good chunk of people comfortable looking for work while they are at work. After all, if you are job-hunting in today's environment, it's hard to avoid the occasional workday call from a recruiter or email from a hiring manager.
While it's probably OK to quickly respond to an email or set aside a lunch break for an interview, experts say you shouldn't spend most of your time in the office job-hunting.
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For one thing, your potential employer may be wary if you appear overly willing to slack off at your current job. And you don't want to start performing poorly and end up burning your bridges with your current employer.
"You will have to be a little bit accessible, but there's a line that you draw," said Patti Johnson, CEO of the human resources consulting firm PeopleResults.